Synergos devotes 25% of budget to agric, others

Ms. Peggy Dulany

• Budget worth $12.589m for Nigeria and Ethiopia

Synergos Institute, a global non-profit organisation has devoted a quarter of its intervention fund to partnership with the Nigerian Government on issues relating to health, nutrition, agriculture, and youth employment.

Founder of the Institute, Ms. Peggy Dulany, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with The Guardian on the sidelines of a one-day training programme on, Youth in Agriculture Diversity Dialogue, in Abuja recently.

The intervention, which is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates funded project and in two years of implementation is worth $12.589 million, according to findings obtained from the Group’s Financial Statement of the Year 2015 and is meant for intervention in Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Dulany however confided in The Guardian that Nigeria remained the Group’s largest portfolio around the world, adding that the aim is to build trust across the divide, with specific reference to farmers and herders to help solve difficult problems.

Speaking on the level of intervention, Dulany said: “Our biggest office and intervention around the world is in Nigeria, and a quarter of our entire budget is coming into Nigeria. We are here to support Nigerians from different sectors and backgrounds to settle different and complex problems and see and live the life they want to see.

Here in Nigeria, we’re working with government and other actors to shift agriculture from subsistence farming to small, medium, and large-scale businesses. These efforts are beginning in the states of Benue, Kogi, and Kaduna, with a focus on two major staples (rice and cassava) and gender- and nutrition-sensitive approaches.”

She added that the programme, which is being run under a State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) aims to: “sustainably improve the livelihood and well being of smallholder farmers, consciously create a gender and nutrition-sensitive agricultural ecosystem in Nigeria, and test scalable approaches for improving state level institutions and delivery systems. The SPA Programme is currently being implemented in Kogi, Benue and Kaduna states, being the three pilot implementing states of the programme.”

Also speaking, the Synergos Country Director for Nigeria, Adewale Ajadi, in his presentation to participants drawn from the three implementing states based on the need to deploy effective use of Nigeria’s diversity said the programme has already recorded some successes.

He pointed out that as part of the solution to the constant conflicts between cattle herders and farmers; the Programme has developed cassava pills for use as feeds for cattle to reduce conflicts arising from grazing on farmlands.

Ajadi also disclosed that in efforts to encourage yam farmers to expand their cultivation, Synergos Institute is partnering with other groups for the building of a solar powered conditioning centre, which is also serving as gate for yam export, to prevent the continued rejection of Nigerian yams at the international market due their bad condition.

He said: “We are involved in yam export in three states namely, Kogi, Kaduna, and Benue. In Benue State, we are almost completing the construction of a solar powered conditioning centre that would keep the yams in good condition till shipment period so they can still maintain their right conditions. We are doing this because there is a large market for yams outside the country. And our duty also includes identification of markets and access to farmers to encourage more production. We believe Agriculture is what is going to industrialise Nigeria and not oil. Nigeria has more than 60 varieties of yams; we need to develop and improve on them because the market is huge out there. Yam is a delicacy in Japan, Korea, and so many other places around the world where Nigerians and other Africans live.

A tubber of yam that sells for N500 back home, but sells for between $7 and $10 in the U.S. So we are finding a positive way for young people of Nigeria to take ownership of these opportunities in line with the Federal Government ERGP,” Ajadi further submitted.

He explained that the training was part of a systematic approach which requires collaboration to create, promotes, and sustains collaborations among business, government, civil society, and marginalised communities through building trust, designing and implementing change processes, and enhancing the effectiveness of bridging leaders and institutions.



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